Latinos in the media : the value of critical media literacy
"We cannot, especially in this day and age, exaggerate the power of what we take in with our eyes. Our culture is based on this: television news, television shows, and films (Landsman, 2001, p. 25)." Media is becoming increasingly central to our collective culture as a society; therefore, it is vital that media consumers possess the skills to critically examine it as a source of potential stereotypes and misconceptions. According to Kellner and Share (2007), "Critical media literacy involves cultivating skills in analysing media codes and conventions, abilities to criticize stereotypes, dominant values, and ideologies, and competencies to interpret the multiple meanings and messages generated by media texts (p. 372)." Critical media literacy skills allow media consumers to see how they have been, often unknowingly, influenced by covert messages found in various forms of media. Media, as with any form of discourse, represents social actors in a variety of ways (van Leeuwen, 2008). This paper reviews examples of genericization, appraisement, metaphors, activation and passivation of actors, nomination, categorization, and others, as well as ways to engage students to develop critical media literacy. It is vital that media consumers be made aware of these rhetorical techniques, as "it is through discourse that many ideologies are formulated, reinforced and reproduced (van Dijk, 1998, as cited in Paltridge, 2012, p. 194).
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